Monthly Archives: December 2011
Every winter season I look forward to the release of Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ Ale. But this year with the huge expansion going on at their brewery, the company said there was no capacity to brew Brown Shugga’ Ale. I was devastated at the news, but was quickly consoled when they came back and said a new holiday ale would be released in it’s place. This new release is Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, a fitting name since I am sure a lot of fans were thinking the exact same thing after hearing the news.
I am a big fan of Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, CA. In fact, I have never tasted a bad beer from this brewery, and I have sampled them all except for their PILS (I’m not a big pilsner fan, but I will eventually try it because I know it will be tasty). So here are my tasting notes from this fine craft Double IPA.
First off, this is not a typically winter seasonal ale. The name is deceiving because a holiday ale might be mistaken as a Christmas Ale, and this is far from that! The first thing I noticed when I poured the beer into my glass was how light the coloring was, almost pilsner light. This had me worried, because I usually am not a huge fan of lighter beers. After I took a deep sniff my worries were whisked away, because this beer had great hop aroma. I knew I was in for a treat.
The initial upfront taste is of a traditional American IPA…very strong hop presence with a nice malt balance. But the underlying subtle flavors are very unique indeed. It wasn’t until I visited the website that I realized what I was tasting. This beer is made with multiple types of grains they call the “Cereal Medley” and consists of barley, rye, wheat and oats. A four grain mixture that takes this IPA to a different level. The finish is wonderful because the bitterness mellows out to a rich almost pineapple-like sugar sweetness (not too sweet, just enough) with a warming feeling as it goes down. A very nice change this winter from my normal winter warmers.
I am actually kind of glad Lagunitas substituted this beer for their normal Brown Shugga’ Ale because I believe they have another huge hit on their hands. I hope this beer becomes a regular seasonal brew. My ranking is based on excellent value and the unique flavor for my favorite beer style.
- Style: Double IPA
- ABV: 7.85%
- IBU: 63+
- Coloring: Light Golden
- Container: 6-pack, 12oz bottles
- Value: Excellent, about $10.50 a 6-pack
If you have listened to the 40cast at all this fall, then you know how much I enjoy Widmer Brothers Brrr Seasonal Ale, which is only offered from late October until January when stock runs out. For this reason, it is my go-to brew for fall and winter and I usually drink far too much of it.
The Widmer Brothers Brewing Company is another fine craft brewery located in Portland, Oregon. They have a number of great beers and I enjoy drinking them all. They release seasonal beers throughout the year, and this is their late fall/early winter release. I have been drinking this beer ever since the release in 2008 (I believe this is the correct release date, but my memory can fail me sometimes). It is a true winter warmer in my books because I do not place spiced ales in this category, and this is no spiced brew!
The beer pours nicely with a filtered, deep reddish amber coloring. The head is as close to white as you can get with beer and sticks nicely to the side of the glass. The aroma dispersing from the glass is hardy, filled with caramel malts and plenty of citrus flavored hops. As you take your first sip you instantly taste the malts and the wonderful hops, but then the real surprise hits with the middle and finish. The transition is almost magical as the citrus and floral bitterness of the hops blend into a warm, sweet and rich finish. Imagine the feeling of sucking on a peppermint candy, but without the peppermint flavor. Instead you have a unique flavor that warms your bones and hides any hint of the 7.2% ABV. That is about the best I can explain it. You truly have to experience it for yourself to understand.
If you can not tell, I absolutely love this beer. I am not even joking when I say I drink AT LEAST six cases of this stuff each season it is released. One thing I can say about Widmer Brothers Brewing Company is they produce great beer for the average craft beer drinker. What I mean by this is they provide an excellent product at a reasonable price for the everyday craft beer enthusiast. I applaud them for this and is why I rank them high on value and overall rating. So go out and drink some Brrr before it’s all gone for the season!
- Style: Winter Warmer
- ABV: 7.2%
- IBU: 50
- Coloring: Deep Reddish Amber
- Container: 6 & 12 packs, 12oz bottles
- Value: Excellent, about $8.50 a 6-pack, $16 a 12-pack
In Episode 77 of the 40cast, Keith asked about the flavoring of double chocolate stouts and I did not have any experience to share. I have had plenty of regular chocolate stouts, but never a double. So in the back of my beer frig I found a Rogue Double Chocolate Stout and thought it was a perfect time to try it.
This beer is labeled “Double Chocolate Stout” but really should be labeled Double Stout with chocolate essence. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the beer, but I was let down over the relatively weak chocolate flavors. This beer uses imported Dutch bittersweet chocolate and in 2010 won a gold medal at the World Beer Championship.
The beer pours very dark, almost black, and has a very rich and creamy looking mocha frothed head. The beer head looked awesome from the top and sides, but really did not stick to the glass as I would have suspected it should (NOTE: Sampled from a room temperature snifter glass). The aroma was only hinting of chocolate. The initial upfront taste is also only of minor chocolate as well as the finish, tasting much like you might find in the center of a Tootsie roll pop. In my opinion this is a good tasting stout with a very smooth finish. The beer is well brewed with well balanced dark roasted malt flavors and slight bittering from the hops.
My final thoughts…it was a good tasting stout, but I felt somewhat cheated in the advertising and in the overall value for my money. As mentioned in the review, I was very disappointed in the chocolate flavoring. Also, Rogue Ales has been increasing their prices on beers over the past couple years and I feel I can get more value from other breweries at half the cost. This beer is not worth the $12 price tag. So my rating is based on those factors.
- Style: Double Stout
- ABV: 9%
- IBU: 50
- Coloring: Very dark, almost black
- Container: 750ml bottle
- Value: Paid $12, but really should have been a $6 beer
LuceScrew’s Brew Buzz is a segment on The 40cast covering beer enthusiast topics…think of it as Geeky Beer Facts.
This segment can be found in Episode 71 Of The 40cast released on Nov. 6, 2011.
Over the past several months there has been a lot of talk about craft and micro-brew beers. I am sure a lot of listeners who are long time domestic beer drinkers (Bud, Coors, Miller) are finding it difficult to go outside their comfort levels and try some of these fancy beers that taste so strange. So it is important to ease your way into this new flavor territory.
I recommend starting off with a “gateway” beer. One that is not going to overwhelm your taste buds and turn you off to craft beers. So I will provide a couple choices to start off with, ones that most people can drink and not instantly turn away from the change.
Since beer distributing is a very complicated system, I will call out some beers that are most likely found across the country.
Henry Weinhard also provides a variety of beer styles with more flavor than domestic, but not so drastic. You can try a Pale Ale, Dark Ale, IPA or Hefeweizen and see if these styles are something you enjoy. Drink these for a while and then try stronger versions from other local craft brewers. Henry’s was my entry into craft brew…I really enjoyed the Dark Ale.
This week on Episode 77 we have the entire crew and get back to our normal show layout. On this “Lucky Sevens” episode we talk about a lot of topics from the VGAs to football and even throw in some beer conversation. The sex topic lies close to home as we discuss the effects of aging on men and our sex drive as we get older. We are sure you will be entertained, so grab that beer and get ready for the ride!! Make sure to stay tuned to the end for the post show and enjoy some free bonus laughs!
If you enjoy this episode then please comment on Twitter and iTunes with feedback and let us know. You can also email the entire crew at TalkBack@the40cast.com. We are working hard to improve our shows and all feedback is appreciated. Visit our new website at http://www.the40cast.com and check out our online store at http://www.cafepress.com/the40cast.
Special thanks to @Dragon59 for the WC Fields Intro this week!
LuceScrew’s Brew Buzz is a segment on The 40cast covering beer enthusiast topics…think of it as Geeky Beer Facts. This segment can be found in Episode 69 Of The 40cast released on Oct. 24, 2011.
It is now fall and soon we will be going into winter and this is the time I really enjoy drinking the heavier beers. Two of my favorites are the Porter, and I’m not talking about the guy taking your bags up to your hotel room, and the Stout. These are dark beers made from dark malts. They are cloudy, have robust flavors and a mid to strong bitterness rating.The first mention of “Porter” as a beer style came in the early 1700’s when British brewers started blending three common styles together, the “ale”, the “beer” and the “twopenny”. NOTE: the twopenny was the strongest beer available at the time. This combination became a favorite amongst the dock workers and heavy hauling workers and some believe this is how it picked up the name Porter. The Porter and Stout have a lot in common. The Stout originated from the double Porter which was known as Stout Porter and Extra Stout Porter (meaning these are really strong versions). Later on the Porter was removed from the name and the beers just became known as Stouts. The Porter and the Stout slowly started to disappear from British pubs in the late 1800’s, but are still very dominate in Ireland.
Listen to the audio segment of the Brew Buzz below:
I think I may start a new thing for www.The40cast.com by starting a weekly or random posting of some popular sports topics going on in the world of sports. So my first posting will begin with Chris Paul and then a bit on The James Harrison hit on my Quarteback for the Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy. I will also try a talk a little Major League Baseball and the National League MVP Ryan Braun and also the “Hottest Quarterback” in the NFL, Tim Tebow. So I hope you enjoy this article and the weekly updates as well. Please leave a comment after you read so I can make these articles better as I move ahead.
My man Chris Paul is first on the list of topics today and what an interesting last couple of weeks we have had with this young man, a rising star in the NBA. It was first rumored a couple weeks ago that Chris was gonna be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers but with all the gripping and Contract negotiations that had taken place all summer and fall the Commissioner David Stearn decided to put the “squash” on that trade. I personally believe that he did that to keep some type of parity in the NBA with the small market teams. It was said that a lot of other team owners called upon the commissioner to stop this trade. Well he took the advice of these owners and stopped it.
In true NBA fashion the teams and the players involved in this trade were upset that it didn’t happen. Those most vocal about the no-trade were Kobe Bryant and Lamaar Odom. Kobe was mad because he didn’t get the much needed point guard and also mad because the Lakers got rid of Lamaar and got nothing for him. It took most of last week and some of this week to finally get Chris Paul traded and on a new team. The winners in the Chris Paul trade were the Los Angeles Clippers (the LA step child) where they have the young and rising Superstar in Blake Griffin. I don’t know how well this team will play this year with these to guys on the floor but I think they will be a top contender within the next couple of years. That is if you are fan of the NBA and will watch this team grow for a couple of years. I’m still deciding If I want to be a NBA fan anymore.
On to my Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy and the massive hit that he took from James Harrison on Thursday night December 8, 2011 on The NFL Network. This has been the topic of all media outlets around the Cleveland area since that night. The talk has been based on “why did the Coach and the Medical staff put Colt back in the game?” It was obvious that he took a hard hit on the field because he didn’t get up for a good sixty seconds. Now I’m no medical professional but I believe the first thing the Medical Staff should have done was check him for concussion and not the injured hand he sustained on the same play. All pictures I seen after the hit show the medical staff looking at his hand. So the poor kid is on the sidelines for two plays, yes I said “two plays” and they put him back in the game only for him to get sacked on his first play back and then on the second play back throw the game winning interception the the Steelers.
Cut to the Press conference after the game…. This poor kid is noticeably concussed and everyone in the room can tell. He is in such bad shape that the Medical Staff ask the Media to turn the lights down because they are bothering Colt. One question is asked to Colt and he says “well I guess the medical staff thought I was alright to go back in, I honestly don’t remember the hit or throwing the interception”. This to me is very troubling to hear, these people are paid to take care of these athletes and make sure there okay after suffering big hits or brain injuries. This Medical Staff and Coaching staff were neglectful in there jobs on that Thursday night.
Now cut to Wednesday afternoon to a press conference Team President Mike Holmgren has to clear up this concussion issue and put it to rest with the Cleveland media. This guy gets in front of everyone and tells us that “no one seen the hit and that Colt only complained about his hand”. They didn’t conduct the NFL mandated concussion test on this poor guy but went on to tell the media after further questioning and dis-belief that “if your not with us, then you are against us and when play-off tickets are need don’t come looking for any from him”. The arrogance of this guy is unbelievable. The team is now where near ever going to the play-offs. I personally believe that Pat Shurmur, Mike Holmgren and the entire medical staff should be fired for there action on Thursday night and in the 5-7 days after the hit. There neglect was so bad that in prompted the NFL to send Union representative and Player Reps. to the Cleveland facility to conduct there own investigations.
You all know that I am not a Steeler fan and I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that James Harrison is a dirty player in general but I believe that the hit on Colt McCoy was a dirty hit and he deserves his one game suspension and possibly more games if it continues to happen. As a ffotball fan I would take James Harrison on my team any day with open arms.
I’m not a big baseball guy but this news story has been at the fore front of News for the past 7-10 days and it’s about The National Leagues MVP for 2011, Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun. He has tested positive for a Performance Enhancing Drug on the banned substance list. He is also facing a 50 game suspension for his positive test results.
The word around Brewers country is there is a story behind this positive test and the truth will come out shortly. People are also saying that Ryan Braun doesn’t fit the mold of the typical steroid abuser in the MLB. He’s a small guy in statcher and he hits the long ball not with large muscles but with a quick bat and a sweet swing. How many times have we heard that by these cheating baseball players? I guess we will all see how this story turns out.
Last but certainly not least is the “Hottest QB in the NFL” Tim Tebow. What is up with this young man and with everything he is doing on the football field for his Denver Broncos? This guy was not supposed to do this, he wasn’t supposed to be able to win in the NFl, his mechanics were supposed to be un-fixable. He was supposed to be a failure in everyones eyes.
Well he is not a failure, he has won seven of his games started this year and came from behind to win them all. His game statistics aren’t the best in the first three quarters of the games but in the NFL the only thing that matters is the win and he continues to win.
His Coach John Fox has changed the offense to help this guy succeed and the team President John Elway is behind this guy. Fans like my self wonder if John Elway is behind him let him know that he is watching him and waiting for him to fail so he can trade him away but for now its winning as usual for Tim Tebow and for the Denver Broncos.
They have a real test this week when The New England Patriots head to the Mile High City and show them what its like to play a real powerhouse. They want to see if the “Tebow-time” is for real. Can the Broncos beat the Patriots and make a run to the Play-offs? We will see this Sunday.
My experience tasting, and consuming fully, a 2.5 year aged bottle of Stone 13th Anniversary Ale. I have a few comparisons to my recollections of my initial tastes in 2009, but my memory sucks so don’t count on them being spot on.
This beer was released in June 2009 to celebrate the 13th anniversary of Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA. I have been lucky enough to have tasted several anniversary ales from Stone over the years, and with this one I had purchased two bottles.
The first bottle I drank in the fall of 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was super hopped up the way I like my beer and carried a formidable kick in the ABV. It even used aromatic hops (Chinook, Simcoe and Centennial) to provide a nice finish to the bitterness.
The second bottle I put aside in my cellar and forgot about it until this week. I was digging through my collection and found this treasure. I was a little nervous tasting this 2.5 year aged brew because right on the bottle it says “Do not cellar. Enjoy in 2009.” I believe this is because of the dry hopping and use of aromatic hops. Typically you want to drink these types of hopped beers right away because the aging process tends to reduce the tastes of the hops.
The beer poured just like the un-aged version…a deep red with a nice light tan head that stuck well to the glass. In the nose it smelt of deep malty aromas and almost none of the hop aromas found in the un-aged version. I liken the smell to that of their Arrogant Bastard Ale or the Old Guardian Ale. The initial taste on my palette was caramel malts blending into almost a hint of licorice (only the initial taste, after that I did not taste this) which may have been a mistaken identity on my taste buds. The finish was smooth and not overly bitter. There was a distinct warmth at the end telling me this brew was definitely packing an alcohol punch. It has none of the citrus or piney hop flavors found in the un-aged version, and thus why the bottle says to drink it in 2009 and not to cellar.
Now I have to confess something. I am a well experienced craft beer drinker. On average I would say the majority of the beer I drink is 6% and above, and most the time 7-8%. It usually takes me a few of these high octane brews before I start feeling the affects of a buzz. Well I barely got through half this bottle before my lips started tingling and my head became light. By time I finished the bottle I was full on loopy. I believe the fermenation process must have continued as it aged and increased the overall ABV. True I had not eaten dinner yet, but it is normal for me to drink a beer or two prior to eating dinner. This was a welcome surprise and a bonus gained in the aging.
- Style: Imperial Red Ale / Double Red Ale
- ABV: 9.5%
- IBU: 90+
- Coloring: Deep Red
- Container: 22oz bottle